Refinement Database

Database on Refinement of Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Use of Animals in Research

This database, created in 2000, is updated every three months with newly published scientific articles, books, and other publications related to improving or safeguarding the welfare of animals used in research.

Links to the full text for publications that appear in open access journals or are published on the AWI website are provided under the abstract.

Tips for using the database:

  • This landing page displays all of the publications in the database.
  • Use the drop-down menus to filter these publications by Animal Type and/or Topic.
  • Clicking on a parent category (e.g., Rodent) will include publications relating to all the items in that category (e.g., Chinchilla, Gerbil, Guinea pig, etc.).
  • You may also add a keyword to further narrow your search.
  • Please note that at this time, only publications dated 2010 or later (with some exceptions) can be filtered by Animal Type and Topic. Most publications older than 2010 can only be searched by keyword. 

Environmental enrichment (EE) has been studied as a protocol that can improve brain plasticity and may protect against negative insults such as chronic stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of...

The environment provided for animals in captivity is less complex than its natural habitat, which generates a stressful condition. Environmental enrichment tries to meet the animals’ ethological and psychological needs. This paper aims to evaluate...

To provide extra enrichment for our training rats (Sprague Dawley; CRL: SD), our team discussed the idea of developing a rat play cage. Animals are housed in the Comparative Bioscience Center at The Rockefeller University...

Alone among Western nations, the United States has a two-tier system for welfare protections for vertebrate animals in research. Because its Animal Welfare Act (AWA) excludes laboratory rats and mice (RM), government veterinarians do not...

The origins of floor-laying in ducks could be low motivation for a nest, or stress related to difficulties with accessing a nest (e.g. competition). Using a behavioural demand test, we investigated if increasing the work...

Regular exercise promotes learning and memory functions. Theta activity is known to relate to various cognitive functions. An increase in theta power may be related to higher cognitive functioning and learning functions. However, evidence is...

The endangered Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) is currently distributed as a single wild population of 670 individuals and ∼400 captive animals globally. Although the captive lions are major hope for the species’ long-term conservation...

The use of odors is a popular form of sensory enrichment, yet few studies have investigated the longer lasting effects of biologically relevant chemical signals like pheromones. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are unique because they...

The Environmental enrichment technique, although scientifically recognized for raising the level of animal welfare, has led to the questioning of its influence on the results of experimental research. Thus, the goal is to promote reflection...

The concept of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement) has been used as a framework for improving the welfare of laboratory animals for the last half century. By establishing an animal-centric view on housing and...

The RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 27 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and share...

The past few decades have seen increased interest in studies examining the welfare of elephants and animal–visitor interactions. One understudied area for both pursuits is the impact of public feeding interactions. Our study examined the...

Mouse deer are primitive, forest ungulates found in Asia and Africa. Both the lesser mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus) and the Philippine mouse deer (T. nigricans) are managed in European zoos, but inconsistent breeding success between...

Enrichment is widely used as a tool for studying how changes in environment affect animal behavior. Here, we report an experimental study investigating if behaviors shaped by stimuli from environmental enrichment depending on the stage...

The study aimed to determine whether artificial shade influences grazing behavior and body weight of pregnant female red deer. Two groups of pregnant does were grazed in enclosures with shade (WS, n = 23), or non-shaded enclosures...

This simple DIY training treat is great for NHP, swine, rabbits, rodents, and dogs. Note that dehydrated watermelon may resemble muscle tissue!

Playing music or natural sounds to animals in human care is thought to have beneficial effects. An analysis of published papers on the use of human-based music with animals demonstrates a variety of different results...

This research evaluates the economic sustainability of rabbit farms using different housing systems—bicellular (BI), conventional dual-purpose (DP) and enriched cages designed according to the World Rabbit Science Association guidelines (WRSA)—through a field-based study involving six...

The effect of olfactory stimuli as a means of environmental enrichment is underexplored in canids. The crab-eating fox is the most abundant wild canid in zoos, but few studies have addressed the reaction of this...

Research with captive wildlife in Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL2) and 3 (ABSL3) facilities is becoming increasingly necessary as emerging and re-emerging diseases involving wildlife have increasing impacts on human, animal, and environmental health. Utilizing...

The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...

Growing research effort has shown that physical enrichment (PE) can improve fish welfare and research validity. However, the inclusion of PE does not always result in positive effects and conflicting findings have highlighted the many...

Penguins exhibited at zoological institutions can be prone to a foot condition known as pododermatitis (or bumblefoot) if they have high levels of sedentary behaviour. Providing penguins with environmental enrichment can increase activity levels by...

Environmental enrichment is a common tool used in zoo and aquarium settings to provide mental and physical stimulation to animals under human care. This paper aims to present a primary approach to goal-oriented environmental and...

The outfit of husbandry facilities of, and the enrichment provided for, experimental rodents plays an important role in the animals’ welfare, and hence also for the societal acceptance of animal experiments. Whether rats and mice...

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